There was some debate on the money moustache forums on what to say what you do once you are early retired.
And although I firmly believe that financial independence in Belgium will always involve some work and I am not yet retired I still felt the need to add my favorite answer: gentleman of leisure.
Although I usually say it in mocking tone I am actually not really kidding.
I love the definition: a gentleman who is of independent means and so does not need employment, one who is free from duties and responsibilities, a dilettante.
I actually, really love the word dilettante: gentleman tinkerers who experimented with steam engines and flying machines which they conducted in the barn behind the manor house.
I find it a pity that we now live in an era of unparalleled scientific discoveries and yet there is so much pessimism all around us. The possibilities that are available to people with a median income are unparalleled: my girlfriend flies to Porto, Portugal for the sole purpose of attending the Primavera festival. It’s bonkers! If I want a specific book I can download it in less than a minute on my phone! We can build buildings 1 km high! We can clone and genetically manipulate living organisms. The list is endless and yet we think our future will be bleak!
So I might say I aspire to be a gentleman of leisure in a half mocking tone, but I am actually pretty serious about it. Then again, I also waited until I owned 1 500 Berkshire Hathaway class B shares (the equivalent of 1 class A share) before getting engaged to my long time (as in 14 years long time) girlfriend because part of me thinks one should be a man of considerable means before getting engaged. Yes, I am strange man and lucky to have such a wonderful and patient girlfriend …
I think our world needs more gentlemen of leisure and more people who aspire to become a dilettante once they have achieved financial freedom!
Personally, I want to build a 90 meter wall at one side of our property, I want to participate in the Mongol rally, visit Japan and New Zealand for a few months, tinker with a raspberry pi and explore the world of gridcoin and Boinc, there is the biohacking community (who doesn’t want to be able to feel electromagnetic fields?), do it yourself genetic engineering (I want my gargoyle god damn it!!), work on an oldtimer Vespa or just party hard like I am 19 again!
Last week I got my first glimpse on how it would feel to be a gentleman of leisure. With the carnival in Aalst I partied and got pretty drunk Sunday night. Monday night was a repeat of Sunday. Tuesday was vegging out on the couch. Wednesday was more recuperating on the couch (my age is showing here, I just do not recuperate as I used to do in my youth) when I got a text message from a friend saying Berkshire Hathaway was setting new record highs. Logging into my broker account for the first time in a few weeks I discovered my stash had gone up with more than 10.000 euro. I know these short term stock movements are meaningless. But I have to say: two nights of partying and two days of being a couch potato and then discover you actually gained 10.000 euro? A fucking good feeling!
Now, if you excuse me, I have some tinkering to do ….
Ps. the drunken debauchery that is known as Aalst carnaval? Cultural heritage recognized by the united nations. I just did my part to keep this old heritage alive (it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it 😉